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U.S. Charged Hackers for Crypto-Jack

The US Department of Justice has announced recently that they have charged seven individuals – five of them are Chinese and the other two Malaysian nationals – hosted cybercrimes, including hacking different companies and organizations, implanting ransomware, and distantly using computers to mine cryptocurrency.

The grand jury’s accusations, formerly issued in August 2019 and August 2020, were released today upon the news that Malaysian authorities had arrested two nationals charged by the US. The US is still seeking their extradition. The other five Chinese residents remain at large by now.

In a press release, the August 2019 allegations have charged the Chinese nationals Zhang Haoran and Tan Dailin with 25 counts; this includes conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The duo has allegedly hacked the scheme targeted tech companies. However, a video game-centric plot noticed them hacking the game publishers to steal or generate digital items and currency that they resold. They have also been reportedly targeting rival criminal groups to edge out the competition.

However, in an August 2020 indictment against the three Chinese nationals Jiang Lizhi, Qian Chuan, and Fu Qiang have included nine counts, comprising racketeering conspiracy, identity theft, and money laundering. The trio has allegedly launched the attacks via a firm named Chengdu 404 Network Technology against over 100 international companies, including those based in the United States. The releases have specifically called out a ransomware attack against a non-profit organization that competes for global poverty.

The two Malaysian nationals have been arrested later this week Wong Ong Hua and Ling Yang Ching. They were charged with 23 counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, identity theft, and access device fraud. The duo has have been accused of targeting video game companies in the United States and elsewhere via Malaysian company Sea Gamer Mall. Aside from that, they have allegedly worked with other hackers – together with the aforementioned Chinese duo – in attacking game developers.

Out of the five Chinese nationals, one has been reportedly “boasting his connections to the Chinese Ministry of State Security.” The Department of Justice’s release doesn’t crumble words about the Republic of China’s view toward other nations’ hacking and the probability of arresting those charged individuals.

“The Department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyberattacks by these Chinese citizens,” stated Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, in a release.

“Regrettably, the Chinese Communist Party has chosen a different path of making China safe for cybercriminals so long as they attack computers outside China and steal intellectual property helpful to China.”

Microsoft has worked with various US agencies to help alleviate the risks that have been discovered during the investigation. The DOJ has also thanked Google, Facebook, and Verizon for their aid.

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